Harvest Season:  Late summer

Plant Habit: Spreading

Characteristics: Easy care

Water: Medium

Fertilize: Every two weeks

Height: 8" - 12"

Width: 20" - 36"

Exposure: Sun

Available varieties: Alaska  cantaloupe is a large size, short season variety.

                               Hale's Best cantaloupe is smaller, short season variety.

                               Summer dew is a honeydew, short season variety.

General Information: 

Cantaloupe, also known as muskmelon, is a warm-season fruit that thrives in sunny and well-drained soil. It belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family, which includes cucumbers, pumpkins, and squash. For cantaloupe and honeydew, we find it better to plant a started plant rather than seeds because of our short season. Melons prefer a hot, sunny spot in the garden or in a container on the south side of a building. 

Cantaloupes prefer loose and fertile soil with a pH level between 6.0 and 6.8. Incorporate organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure, into the soil to improve its texture and nutrient content. 

Watering is crucial for the development of cantaloupe plants. They require consistent moisture, especially during the flowering and fruiting stages. Water deeply and regularly, aiming to keep the soil evenly moist but not waterlogged. Avoid overhead watering, as it can promote the spread of diseases.

Fertilizing is also important to provide the necessary nutrients for healthy growth. Before planting, incorporate a balanced fertilizer into the soil according to the package instructions. Once the plants start to grow, side-dress them with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer every few weeks to promote vigorous foliage and fruit development.

As the cantaloupes begin to form, you can help support their growth by providing trellises or slings. This will prevent the fruits from touching the ground, reducing the risk of rot and pest damage. Gently tie the vines to the supports using soft twine or fabric strips.

Harvesting cantaloupes at the right time is crucial for optimal flavor and sweetness. The fruits are ready to be picked when they have a strong aroma, the skin has turned from green to tan or yellow, and the stem easily separates from the vine with a gentle twist. Cut the fruits from the vine using a sharp knife or pruning shears, leaving a short stem attached.



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